Justified to Return February 9th

FX has confirmed February 9th as the premiere date for the second season of Justified, the Timothy Olyphant-led drama about a Deputy U.S. Marshall getting assigned to his hometown in eastern Kentucky as punishment for an ‘accidental’shooting. According to TV Guide, Joseph Lyle Taylor, Brad William Henke, Jeremy Davies, and Margo Martindale are to recur in season two as a prominent drug dealing family that will become the primary rival of Olyphant’s Raylan Givens.

The new night for the show, which aired Tuesdays last season, is a slight cause for concern. FX is obviously still squarely behind the show, but its competition should be stiff. Justified will be facing Shonda Rhimes’s latest sexy doctors drama Off the Map, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, and Law & Order: SVU, in addition to the plethora of cable reality shows and eventually Happy Endings. It should share a decent amount of audience with the CBS and NBC franchise entries, while Rhimes is already responsible for two highly rated ABC shows.

Working in its favor, however, is the DVD/word of mouth factor and the erosion of the 10:00 hour for network television. A scripted cable show is more likely to grow through positive word of mouth and big DVD sales than a network show; one can look no further than Justified‘s channelmate Sons of Anarchy for proof of this phenomenon. After one well-rated and equally well-received season, the second season of the Kurt Sutter drama was sent into the ratings stratosphere and hasn’t looked back since. Couple that with the fact that there has been a significant problem with getting ratings in the 10:00 hour this season (The Whole Truth, The Defenders, Parenthood, and Chase, to name a few) and there’s a chance for Justified to really solidify itself as a solid piece of the FX puzzle.

Will you be watching Justified this season? (As a proud resident of the area the show takes place, I’m beyond ready to see what’s in store.)

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